Photography

The truth about food photography

2 November 2019 9:00 am

While looking at the photographs of food in this humorous exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery, I thought of how hopelessly…

A modern-day El Dorado: the Serra Pelada gold mine, Brazil, 1986

Sebastiao Salgado – master of monochrome, chronicler of the depths of human barbarity

5 October 2019 9:00 am

Occasionally, we encounter an image that seems so ludicrously out of kilter with the modern world that we can only…

Untitled #122, from the Fashion series, by Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman – selfie queen

29 June 2019 9:00 am

The selfie is, of course, a major, and to me mysterious, phenomenon of our age. The sheer indefatigability of selfie-takers,…

‘The Yucca Motel’, 1995, by Fred Sigman

Geoff Dyer on the poetry of motels

22 June 2019 9:00 am

It’s to be expected. You take photographs in order to document things — Paris in the case of Eugène Atget…

Postcard from the edge: The Rings of Saturn (Shingle Street — unused photograph), 1994

From haunted to haunter: the afterlife of W.G. Sebald

18 May 2019 9:00 am

East Anglia, the rump of the British Isles, has inspired a disproportionate number of writers: Robert Macfarlane, Daisy Johnson, Mark…

Apocalypse now: ‘Wood near My House, Somerset’, c.1991, by Don McCullin

Few soldiers have seen as many terrible sights as Don McCullin

23 February 2019 9:00 am

Diane Arbus saw mid-20th century New York as if she was in a waking dream. Or at least that is…

Charles J. Tebbutt at Littleport, January 1893, unknown photographer

A short history of ice skating

15 December 2018 9:00 am

In landscape terms, the Fens don’t have much going for them. What you can say for them, though, is that…

Twiggy photographed by Justin de Villeneuve in the Rainbow Room at Big Biba, early 1970s. [JUSTIN DE VILLENEUVE]

A short history of art deco – from high art to two-tone shoes, garden gates to Twiggy

1 December 2018 9:00 am

On 10 September 1973 the 1930s Kensington High Street department store formerly known as Derry & Toms reopened as Big…

Captain Scott’s 1911 expedition to Antartica, with the Terra Nova anchored in the background, from The Colour of Time

The artist who breathes Technicolour life into historic photographs

4 August 2018 9:00 am

There is something of The Wizard of Oz about Marina Amaral’s photographs. She whisks us from black-and-white Kansas to shimmering…

The earliest aerial drawing, made from a balloon basket, by Thomas Baldwin, 1785, left, and Apollo 8’s ‘Earthrise’, right, 50 years old

How the world was turned upside down by revelation of aerial perspectives

16 June 2018 9:00 am

‘To look at ourselves from afar,’ Julian Barnes wrote in Levels of Life, ‘to make the subjective suddenly objective: this…

‘Amazon’, 2016, by Andreas Gursky

Gursky’s subject is humanity: prosaic, mundane, extremely messy His colossal, panoramic pictures are brilliant and lowering at the same time

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Walking around the Andreas Gursky exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, I struggled to recall what these huge photographs reminded me…

What makes this Bhutanese schoolgirl happy?

What makes a semi-police state happy?

16 December 2017 9:00 am

This charming collection of individual photographic portraits of Bhutanese citizens intentionally highlights the two central features of the kingdom today:…

Sally Muir marvellously captures the particular hang of a hound’s head

True, dogged likenesses

16 December 2017 9:00 am

There are currently 151,000,000 photos on Instagram tagged #Dog which is 14,000,000 more than those tagged #Cat. The enormous number…

The Russian summer embassy at Büyükdere on the Upper Bosphorus, built in 1840 for General Nikolai Ignatiev. The Tsar’s envoy is said to haunt it still

A love letter to Turkey’s lost past

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Patricia Daunt’s collection of essays is a fascinating exploration of some of Turkey’s most beautiful and evocative places, from the…

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, photographed by Annie Leibovitz (From Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005–2016)

Sex and the city: the best art books of the year

25 November 2017 9:00 am

‘I should like,’ Edgar Degas once remarked, ‘to be famous and unknown.’ On the whole, he managed to achieve this.…

‘A Cellar Dive in the Bend’, c.1895, by Richard Hoe Lawrence and Henry G. Piffard

A short history of flash photography

18 November 2017 9:00 am

All photography requires light, but the light used in flash photography is unique — shocking, intrusive and abrupt. It’s quite…

Oak tree, Marsland Valley, Near Welcombe, West Devon, 1997. The tree reminded Ravilious of Mondrian’s drawings of an apple tree, which are progressively more and more stylised

People and place: an outstanding archive of rural Britain

4 November 2017 9:00 am

In 1970 I wandered around an unfamiliar part of West Devon. Down a grassy lane I came across a farmyard…

‘Spray’, by Harold Williamson (1939)

Nothing is quite what it seems

19 August 2017 9:00 am

One day, somebody will stage an exhibition of artists taught at the Slade by the formidable Henry Tonks, who considered…

Nadar ascending aloft in his basket — in this case in his studio, recording the event for mass consumption

The first celebrity

15 July 2017 9:00 am

It’s quite a scene to imagine. A maniacal self-publicist with absurd facial hair takes off in what’s thought to be…

‘Statue (Double Check by Seward Johnson), New York, 11 September 2001’, 2001, by Jeff Mermelstein

Repo women

6 July 2017 1:00 pm

Aren’t you getting a little sick of the white cube? I am. I realised how sick last week after blundering…

True or false? The Temple of Bel, Palmyra, before and after its destruction at the hands of Islamic State

Why confront the ugly lie of Islamic State with a tacky fake?

28 May 2016 9:00 am

There is fakery in the air. And maybe the French are done with deconstruction. A drone operated by a French…

How a Liberal MP's inability to draw led him to invent photography

30 April 2016 9:00 am

William Henry Fox Talbot had many accomplishments. He was Liberal MP for Chippenham; at Cambridge he won a prize for…

Would you like to buy an American’s vote?

26 March 2016 9:00 am

Killing time in a Heathrow first-class lounge, I notice how many men adopt an unmistakable ‘first-class lounge’ persona. They stand…

‘Wall Street, New York’, 1915, by Paul Strand

A lot of art is trickery - and all the better for it

26 March 2016 9:00 am

One day, in the autumn of 1960, a young Frenchman launched himself off a garden wall in a suburban street…

Through a lens darkly: from the series ‘New Brighton’ , ‘The Last Resort’, 1985

‘I enjoy the banal’: Stephen Bayley meets Martin Parr

27 February 2016 9:00 am

‘I like ordinary people,’ says the extraordinary photographer Martin Parr, pushing a few high-concept smoked sprats around his plate at…